Wade Cothran | Sep 22, 2020

Five Classic Whiskey Cocktails With a New Twist

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Let’s get one thing straight: we love nothing more than to keep our whiskey drinking as classic as classic can be. Garnished with very little other than an ice cube and served in a BrüMate nosing whiskey glass. But once the sun’s out and we’ve had a couple, we’re also pretty open to using sipping at a creative whiskey cocktail or two... After all, with a few fancy cocktails, the right mixers, garnish, and know-how, you can discover more about your favorite spirits.

One thing we’re especially fond of is those cocktails that sit at the more unusual and bizarre side of the scale. Such cocktails ramp up the sense of ceremony - and essence of fun - of whiskey drinking. Is it the occasion to whip out our rare, unique whiskey or that bottle you’ve kept hidden away for ten years? Maybe not. But sometimes something a little whimsical and new is exactly what you're looking for.

So, because we’re the friendliest drinks guides in town, we’ve scoured the great cocktail books of the world. We spent some serious hours with our shakers and mixers. All on the hunt for the best forgotten cocktail recipes out there. (Yes, we know: it’s a hard job.) And we’ve uncovered some bonafide gems for you to explore.

These five classic whiskey cocktails - with a twist - always manage to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Once you’ve learned them and tweaked them to suit your tastes, they’re guaranteed to impress your friends and take your whiskey game to the next level. Cheers!


#1: Sazerac Recipe



Let’s start with one of the most unusual cocktails in the canon of all-time classics. This cocktail is only just starting to make a reappearance in the trendy bar scene.  The Sazerac is one of the oldest whiskey cocktails in the world, dating way back to the 1800s. It was conjured up in Louisiana by a chemist seeking a cure for what he referred to as ‘tropical malaise’. Despite its medicinal history, the Sazerac is as delicious and timeless as it gets. A guaranteed show-stopper.

  • 1 oz Absinthe (to rinse the glass)
  • 2 oz Rye whiskey
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • ½ tsp of sugar or sugar syrup

Pour the absinthe into an old fashioned rocks glass, along with a sizable ice cube. Allow the ice to cool down and water down your absinthe. Some absinthe will 'louche', or (in English) turn a milky white consistency. Then swirl the absinthe around the glass to coat the sides, and drain. (Or drink, we don't judge.) Then pour the rest of your ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake with more ice, and pour into your absinthe-rinsed glass. Finish with a lemon twist garnish.


#2: Maple Whiskey Sour Recipe



Despite featuring two of the most iconic Canadian products ever - maple syrup and rye whiskey - this cocktail is American. It was dreamt up in the famous Clover Club in Brooklyn. It’s a chilled out, trendy, and utterly tempting cocktail. It's basically cocktail porn, providing a delightful punch of flavor on its long, satisfying finish.

  • 2 oz quality Rye whiskey
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz fresh orange juice
  • ¼ oz maple syrup
  • ¼ oz Luxardo Amaro Abano liqueur
  • Orange twist, for garnish

Bring all the ingredients - minus the garnish - together in a shaker, and add plenty of ice. Shake until cold, then pour into your rocks glass or sour glass, and pop an orange twist on the rim. Perfect!

#3: Blood Orange Bourbon Banger Recipe



Citrus and Bourbon whiskey is always a great combo. This cocktail allows the bittersweet notes of blood orange to bring out the caramel sweetness of the Bourbon in a spectacular way. It’s another fun and inventive twist on the classic whiskey sour. One that brings a grown-up sophistication to the table, thanks to its unusual citrus ingredient.

  • 4 fresh raspberries
  • 1 ½ tbsp lime juice
  • 1 ½ tbsp blood orange juice
  • 1 ½ tbsp ginger syrup (see recipe below)
  • 4 tbsp Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Club Soda

Ginger Syrup Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 inches of root ginger, peeled and sliced into thin discs

Muddle the raspberries, lime juice, blood orange juice, and ginger syrup together in your cocktail shaker. Add the bourbon of your choice, and stir well. Strain into a rocks glass or sour glass along with plenty of ice, then top up with sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of blood orange and a couple of fresh raspberries.

#4. Bourbon Sweet Tea Recipe



The South is a treasure trove of delicious whiskey cocktail recipes. If you want to seek out the true spirit of bourbon and its impressive historic roots, then a bourbon sweet tea is going to hit the spot. This kind of cocktail dates back to the whiskey’s earliest years, and those old bourbon folks knew what they were doing! It's perfect for a blazing hot summer afternoon - because we all know whiskey isn’t just a winter drink anymore!

  • 1 cup of homemade sweet tea (recipe below)
  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • Mint leaves to garnish

Sweet Tea Recipe

  • 3 cups of boiling water
  • 8 black tea bags
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 3 cups of cold water
  • 10 mint leaves

First, prep your sweet tea. Boil up three cups of water, add the tea bags along with the mint, and leave them to steep for fifteen minutes. While the tea is hot, dissolve the sugar, and then pour in the cold water. Pour the whole thing in a pitcher, and pop it in the fridge to cool.

To make the cocktail, add the tea, the bourbon, and a good squeeze of lemon to your highball glass. Stir and top with ice. Garnish with lemon and mint leaves.

#5. Whiskey Chai Hot Toddy Recipe



This unusual cocktail combines the classic flavors of Indian Chai and the sweet spice of your favorite bourbon whiskey. It’s a beautiful mix of flavors, and once tried, is sure to become a firm new favorite. It's a great twist on the famous Hot Toddy, ideal for when you’re feeling run down, or need a whiskey pairing for your latest Christmas cookie creation. 

  • 3 oz Bourbon whiskey

Chai Tea Recipe

  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 16 cloves
  • 8 cardamom pods (seeds removed from the pods)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of fresh nutmeg
  • 1 quart of whole milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp loose leaf black tea

Use a spice grinder to blend together all the spices into a fine powder. Take a saucepan, and bring the milk up to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat, add the spices, the sugar, and the tea. Then leave it for 10 minutes to do its thing. Strain into a bowl, and wipe the saucepan with a cloth to remove the residue of the spices. Return the chai to the pan, gently warm, and stir in the whiskey. Serve in a BrüMate mug to keep this one warm from the first sip to the last!